The Chicago Cubs were active again in the free-agent market, signing Scott Hairston to a two-year deal. It was initially believed Hairston would share right field with Nate Schierholtz, while David DeJesus slides over, more permanently, to center field. But when you look at the stats, it makes more sense to have Hairston as your everyday guy in right and have Schierholtz there to fill in the gaps when needed.
There is no doubt the right-handed Hairston will hit lefty pitching better than the left-handed Schierholtz, but you would probably assume that Schierholtz would hit right-handers better right? Wrong. When you look at the stats, there is little doubt that Hairston will be the go-to guy in right field at Wrigley this season. Against right-handed pitchers in 2012, Schierholtz had six home runs, 17 RBI and a .287 average, and even though the average is pretty solid, the other two numbers aren’t quite good enough to be an everyday player, especially when they came in 178 plate appearances. Whereas Hairston had 188 at-bats against righties, compiling nine home runs, 27 RBI, and a .239 average. Although the average isn’t that great, the other two numbers are far greater than what Schierholtz put up last season. I believe the Cubs will have Hairston start in the outfield instead of splitting time.
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What else does this mean for the Cubs outfield? It means two of three guys aren’t going to make the big league roster: Dave Sappelt, Tony Campana or Brett Jackson. Jackson’s bat isn’t quite major-league ready, and he could use some more time at the triple-A level. He struck out 59 times last season in 120 at-bats. The Cubs can’t have a guy at the top of the order striking out that much, and he isn’t going to improve much sitting the bench.
So, who makes the roster, Sappelt or Campana? I think it will be Campana because he has logged more time at that level. And even though his experience is minimal, the Cubs need to fill holes, especially in center, a position that doesn’t really have a long-term solution at this point in time. But who knows what’s going to happen? I guess we’ll find out once the season rolls around.